Tara Storch made the agonizing decision with her husband, Todd, on the last day of their spring vacation- to donate her daughter’s organs to people who desperately needed these organs to survive.
On March 15, 2010, their 13-year-old daughter Taylor Storch, smashed into a tree while on a family ski holiday in Colorado. She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead the next day.
The hospital approached the grieving parents with an option – to save stranger’s lives by donating their daughter’s organs. The parent consented.
Hours after Taylor’s death, her pancreas and a kidney were given to a 49-year-old father; her other kidney went to a 33-year-old man; her corneas and liver to two others.
The most significant organ donation was Taylor’s heart which was transplanted into Patricia Winters, a nurse and mother of two from Chandler, Ariz.
Tara longed to hear her daughter’s heartbeat again. She fondly remembers the times that she would snuggle with Taylor and listen to her daughter’s heartbeat.
“My heart’s desire was to meet with Taylor’s heart recipient and to hear her heart beat again,” Tara says. “That’s a mother’s dream when something like this happens.”
Patricia Winters felt a tremendous pull to find out who her donor was. She learned that it was a young teenage girl but that is all she knew.
The search began to connect, amazingly both donor recipient and donor family were both looking for the other.
Winters found Taylor’s Facebook profile page and YouTube channel where Taylor would post videos singing with her brother Ryan. She found solace and comfort watching those videos and looking at social media images of a girl living life to the fullest.
Todd Storch found a message posted by one of Patricia’s family members on a Transplant Connection website and sprang into action to give Tara the moment she was longing for- to hear the heartbeat of Taylor one last time.
After several weeks of emails and phone calls, Winters and the Storch family were able to meet in person. Tara received her wish and Taylor’s heart skipped a beat as if to say Hello, Mom when Tara was listening on Winter’s chest.
The Storch family did not stop there though. They have created a foundation to encourage organ and tissue donation, Taylor’s Gift.
Todd quit his marketing job to work full-time encouraging people to register as organ and tissue donors and to talk openly about the subject many consider taboo.
“One of the things that’s so important to us is having people make this choice now, before they have to get into a situation like we were,” Todd says. “If we can just get people to take one minute out of their day and register, then have a conversation, it would be a fantastic first step.”
There are more than 100,000 Americans currently on the transplant list yet only 42% of Americans are organ donors. The Storch family hopes to encourage more people to register as donors as a way to honor their daughter Taylor.